GALLERY: Northerlies to reveal revamp this Friday

AFTER almost a month of being closed for refurbishments, Northerlies Beach Bar & Grill and Freedom Shores Resort are due to reopen this Friday.

Management are expecting almost 300 people for dinner, on Saturday, and will have live music on both Saturday and Sunday to welcome the crowds back to the popular resort, which opened in December 2017 and now has 35 staff across the whole property.

The refurbishment includes a complete revamp of all resort, restaurant and bar furniture, a reconfiguration of the kitchen, reflooring of the entrance area leading into the bar, a repaint and sound insulation of the rooms, and a full upgrade of the resort’s IT system.

“We have taken on board our customer reviews and analysed what we have to do,” venue manager Brad Henstock said.

“We picked February because it’s a quiet month - it’s an opportunity to get jobs done. The kitchen rebuild was to enhance productivity – it was gutted and reconfigured - and the floor was also redone.

“The whole bar floor has been redone through to the reception area and bathrooms – it’s exposed aggregate with a non-slip surface – and the Northerlies village area, featuring That Smokin’ Joint, is also due for a relaunch with a new menu and a new vibe.”

The restaurant menu has also had a refresh, including the vegan menu.

“We have kept the crowd favourites, including the seafood platter,” Mr Henstock said.

“Our chef is concentrating on flavour and quality, using seasonal produce and local suppliers.

“It became difficult to get premium product after the bushfires and drought – prices were going through the roof - so we have localised our sources and secured premium products locally.

“We are sourcing our ingredients from local operators including the Prickly Pineapple, Master Butchers Whitsunday, Fishi and Whitsunday Food Service – we are trying to support local.”

A lot of the kitchen ingredients are grown on the property including limes, lemonade lemons, dragon fruit, star fruit and lemon myrtle, and the resort bought this year’s whole crop from the neighbouring farm, including mangoes and Whitsunday limes.

Freedom Shores Weddings has also been launched, targeting the destination wedding market, and the resort is working with the cruise ship sector, providing a site tour, craft beer tasting and morning or afternoon tea for guests, depending on the timing.

“Moving forward, we are going to focus more on the local market - we want to provide that place to come down and chill,” Mr Henstock said.

“We are going big on family events this year, for example, over Easter we will have the mega Easter egg hunt and face painting for the kids, and we’re having a family day on Anzac Day.

“The shuttle bus is running again as normal - picking up from the Airlie Lagoon and the two Cannonvale shopping centre bus stops – and those diners who get a taxi here will receive $10 back when they produce the receipt.

“It’s safe for kids, it’s a controlled environment, and there are even turtles right off the beach.”

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